An al-Qaeda front group in Iraq says it was behind the wave of attacks that killed 69 people on a single day last week.
(AP) Baghdad - The coordinated attacks struck a dozen mostly Shiite neighborhoods on Thursday in the first major bloodshed since U.S. troops completed a full withdrawal this month after nearly nine years of war. They also coincided with a government crisis that has again strained ties between Iraq's Sunnis and Shiites to the breaking point, tearing at the same fault line that nearly pushed Iraq into all-out civil war several years ago.
The claim of responsibility made no mention of the U.S. withdrawal. Instead, it focused its rage on the country's Shiite-dominated leadership, which Sunni insurgents have battled since it came to power as a result of the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.
"The series of special invasions (was) launched … to support the weak Sunnis in the prisons of the apostates and to retaliate for the captives who were executed," said the statement in the name of the Islamic State of Iraq.
According to the SITE Intelligence Group, a U.S.-based organization that monitors jihadist Web traffic, the claim of responsibility was posted late Monday on militant websites.